Private Aviation: Marking the Skies with NetJets

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 “We get to know every one of our card owners on a very intimate level and get to understand their needs and what they’re looking for from a private jet provider.”

Travelers have long been wary of private aviation, fearful of the disparity between service quality, safety, consistency, and of course, commitment. Prior to the invention of fractional jet ownership, private travel was limited to either purchasing, with the obvious downsides of cost, responsibility, and upkeep; or chartering, with the risk of inconsistency.

In 1986, NetJets created the concept of fractional jet ownership, providing the many benefits of owning a private aircraft while eliminating the risks involved. The process is quite simple, and equated to taking stake in a timeshare vacation rental, thus enabling those interested to pay based purely upon their annual flight time requirements (the smallest fraction, 1/16, provides 50 hours of annual flight time). Since then, NetJets has become the global leader in private aviation, with a current fleet of more than 750 aircraft worldwide. Despite the obvious upsides, a sizable gap remained between the safety, service, and commitment of fractional jet ownership and one-off charters.

In 2001, Marquis Jet formed an exclusive alliance with NetJets and launched the Marquis Jet Card program, providing access to NetJets 25 hours at a time with no long-term commitment. Today, jet cards have become the industry entry point to private aviation and the 25-hour Marquis Jet Card program is the catalyst for this change-no commitments, no hassle, and all the luxury of owning a private jet without the exorbitant costs or concerns.

Marquis Jet co-founders Kenny Dichter and Jesse Itzler discovered that there was a significant number of individuals, families, and small to mid-size businesses who needed 25-50 hours of private-flight travel per year and that the private aviation market lacked an alternative for these travelers. As a result, the innovation of the 25-hour Marquis Jet Card was born. Today, nearly 80 percent of their 4,000-plus card owners are individuals including entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and the world’s top entertainers and athletes.

“Our service is a validation of hard work,” explains Dichter, who prefers to describe the Marquis Jet card’s appeal as that of an accomplishment rather than luxury. Randy Brandoff, vice president of marketing, describes the Marquis Jet Card program function as a “lifestyle enhancement tool.” But however one may choose to describe it, Marquis Jet offers access to the epitome of world-class private aviation and offers countless ultra-exclusive features and one can’t help but deem them leaders in the luxury market.

“We position ourselves as a hospitality company. Our people diligently track reservations and flights and greet clients at the airport and get to know their personal preferences,” says Dichter. “I make it a point to meet as many of our [card] owners as I can.”

Through the company’s many business alliances, Marquis Jet provides its card owners with a welcome package that includes thousands of dollars’ worth of complimentary items ranging from chauffer services to fine jewelry and clothing.

“When you become a Marquis Jet Card owner, you’re accessing not only the best in private aviation, but you’re also becoming part of a family,” says Brandoff. Card owners have the opportunity to mix and mingle with eachother throughout the year via the company’s hundreds of private events, including Super Bowl and Masters parties, concerts, and celebrity-hosted events, for example a private concert performed by Miley Cyrus and a meet-and-greet with the performers of the American Idol tour.
“We get to know every one of our card owners on a very intimate level and get to understand their needs and what they’re looking for from a private jet provider,” says Brandoff. “So everyone is treated as an individual and we cater to their needs as best we possibly can each and every time.”

Safety is of equally great importance to NetJets and Marquis Jet. They want both their fractional and card owners to feel completely safe and comfortable while flying as well as in the cities to which they travel. For that reason, NetJets adopted the philosophy that “the best safety device in any aircraft is a well-trained crew.” NetJets pilots each average a total of 7,500 hours of flight experience and are individually trained to fly solely one specific jet, ensuring absolute familiarity. To further guarantee passenger safety, each pilot must pass simulator performance evaluations twice a year. Both NetJets fractional and Marquis Jets Card owners receive access to the Mayo Clinic Executive Travel Response Program, and more recently the Penn-Vet VIP program, so that they can visit the best doctors and veterinarians available whenever and wherever necessary. “The most important thing to us and our family when flying private is safety,” says television personality Kelly Ripa. “With Marquis, we know we are flying on the NetJets fleet, with the best pilots and on the youngest planes.”

In keeping with the company’s exceptional safety standards, NetJets, a Warren Buffet/Berkshire Hathaway company, provides only the very best aircrafts 24 hours per day, 365 days a year. Models within the fleet include the Hawker 800XP, the Citation Sovereign, and the Gulfstream 550, among several others, and the average aircraft in the NetJets fleet is merely five years old.

Marquis Jet Card owners choose their preferred aircraft type from a selection of 11 aircraft models in the NetJets fleet, and 25-hour cards range in price from $126,900 to $349,900. For each trip, card owners can request a larger or smaller aircraft best suited for the itinerary based on availability. For example, if a card owner purchases a Citation Sovereign Card, which has an 8-passenger capacity, he or she can book a flight with the 10-passenger Falcon 2000 or the six-passenger Hawker 800XP whenever necessary. All exchanges are charged on the Marquis Jet Card based on a pre-established exchange rate, which all cardholders receive with their welcome package.

“It’s a night and day difference to the experience of flying commercially,” says Brandoff. “I truly believe that if everyone had the means, everyone would fly this way,” and although Marquis Jet has been so successful since its inception in 2001, he feels like it is still just the beginning for the company. “As an industry, we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of the market potential,” he says. “We look at it as though we’re in the first or second inning of a nine inning game for this industry. Right now, we’re focused on keeping our eye on the ball and continuing to work with NetJets to provide the best service and value to every Marquis Jet Card owner.”

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